This week, an event brought all of us to a screeching halt. An estimated 19 students (the number has not been confirmed by the government or any reputed media house) committed suicide after receiving botched up results for their intermediate exams by the Telangana Board of Intermediate Education (TBIE). I must say this was one of the saddest days for the Indian Education System.
Students who expected to receive 90+, students who actually scored 90+ all failed in the exams. The very exams that they prepared for, for the past 12 months of their lives, the very exams that will decide the fate of a student’s life, they failed them.
When the reality was, that these students actually did as well as they had expected to do. Parents and students believe that their results had been botched by the software solutions firm, Globarena Technologies Private Limited. The company was engaged by the TBIE in September 2017 for development of software to help process admissions, pre-examination, post-examination as well as results of these examinations.
Is the Indian Education System liable for student suicides?
Every year, when the board results for 10th or 12th grade are released in our country, we hear about student suicides or about students who slip into severe depression. Then why is this any different from those suicides? The difference is, that these students committed suicide because they thought that they had failed in their exams while they had not. The education board of Telangana was to blame, not the student’s inability to clear their exams.
While no one can decisively speculate on why these student’s felt the need to commit suicide, one can imagine that it was either due to the guilt of failing their exams or because they felt that failing their exams meant the end of their lives as they imagined it. The idea of not being able to go to a premier college was so strongly ingrained in our minds, not only by the society but also by our family that one almost begins to believe that their lives can’t be wholesome without gaining their higher education at a good college.
Does The Indian Education System Work?
The goal of education has always been to develop a child’s ability to think and to curate them into fully functioning, and contributing citizens in society. Right now, our country is at the precipice of something rather primordial.
On one hand, we have the UPSC entrances, the epitome of merit-based examinations conducted on such a massive scale anywhere in the world. And on the other hand, we have conflicting state and central based school boards that have such different standards of teaching, education as well as faculty.
Long story short, the current Indian education system does not really work. We can no longer hide behind the success stories out of IITs and IIMs. We have to work on doing better for our children and for their children. If we do not start making changes now, it does not bode well for any involved.
How to Make the Indian Education System Better
The only way to make it better is to refocus on the grassroots level. We as a people are capable of a great many things, but that is irrelevant unless someone somewhere starts looking at this as a real tangible issue. We need a more refined form of STEM education that re-purposes the existing budgets into practical expertise and hands-on training. We need our children educated thanks to a learning process based on creativity and curiosity.
Telangana is a shocking revelation that has become so common that the shock factor of events like these has gone down to what is a rather sad level. We need to do better by our students. We have to stop bickering about standardized test mechanisms abroad, old school gurukul systems, this, that and the other thing. Instead of all this, we need to find a fine line between the traditions of the past that have worked for a thousand years and the techniques of the modern world that help by developing more than just the one sense.
That would make for a better environment for students, a better education system. That would make a better tomorrow.